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Isn’t This State-Mandated Banking?!

A New Jersey couple says the state required them to receive family leave benefits on a pre-paid debit card.Exactly who gave government the power to open bank accounts for us that we didn’t ask for, don’t want and don’t need?

A New Jersey couple expecting their first child contacted us after the wife filed for temporary disability benefits under the state’s Family Leave Act.

She was told that she wouldn’t get a check, nor would the funds be directly deposited into their bank account.

Instead she was told that she will be paid through a pre-paid debit card account at Bank of America.

They have two big problems with this.

First, they don’t like Bank of America, and swore off using their products for life. But now the state of New Jersey is opening a Bank of America account in their name without their consent.

Second, they are obligated to pay all of the fees associated with this unwanted Bank of America account.

Those charges include a $1.50 monthly maintenance fee and $1.50 transfer fee each time they move money from the Bank of America prepaid debit card account into one of the existing bank accounts they use to pay their bills online.

They must continue to pay those fees after they’re no longer receiving family benefits for up to four years unless they go to the trouble of closing the account.

The dad-to-be’s sister also signed up for the program and accidentally threw her debit card away because it came in a Bank of America envelope. She assumed it was junk mail.

Offering us the option of receiving government benefits on a prepaid debit card is one thing.

Forcing us to receive those benefits through a bank account we don’t want and that diverts a portion of our money to a private bank against our will is something else entirely.

In June the National Consumer Law Center blasted the prepaid debit cards states are using to pay unemployment benefits instead of sending out paper checks.

It criticized those cards for charging high fees that literally takes money from jobless citizens who desperately need it and gives it to the big banks that a growing number of states’ have contracted to provide those accounts.

Are we really OK with this?

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Comments (3)
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3 Existing Comments
  1. SeniorSaver said:
    on July 16th at 12:34 pm

    This really stinks. It’s just another example of the Government coddling the big banks. But probably people won’t be protesting until they try it out on Social Security payments. You’ll hear olders like me really howling then.

  2. redz said:
    on July 16th at 07:50 pm

    Wow, there are many other choices when it comes prepaid debit cards. Unbelievable that they wouldn’t ask for such choice, I know by law, that is unconstitutional

  3. Anthony said:
    on July 19th at 07:52 am

    This is another reason why NJ is commonly referred to as a Communist State